Irish researcher receives Intel CRC outstanding researcher award

Prof John Boland, AMBER
Prof John Boland, Amber

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29 June 2018 | 0

An investigator based at the SFI-backed Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) centre has become the fourth Irish recipient of the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Intel Corporate Research Council (CRC).

Prof John Boland was given the award for revealing to the world in a Science publication in July 2017, a new insight into the behaviour of the building blocks of copper.

Along with AMBER researcher Dr Xiaopu Zhang and an international team, Prof Boland has shown that the granular building blocks in copper can never fit together perfectly, but are rotated causing an unexpected level of misalignment and surface roughness.

This behaviour, which was previously undetected, applies to many materials beyond copper. Nanocrystalline metals such as copper are widely used as electrical contacts and interconnects within integrated circuits. This new understanding at the nanoscale will impact how these materials are designed, ultimately enabling more efficient devices, by reducing resistance to current flow and increasing battery life in handheld devices.

The awards, considered annually by the 18 strategic research segments which make up the CRC, recognise outstanding university research collaborations.

The recipients must have demonstrated a high level of innovation at enabling the understanding of, or solving of, major technology roadblocks. In addition, the award is only given to researchers within an Institute that have exhibited a close relationship with Intel.

The award was presented by Dr Michael Mayberry, chief technology officer for Intel Corporation, managing director of Intel Labs and head of the Intel CRC.

“At Intel, we recognise the world-class work of Prof John Boland and his team, and also the many other activities that have been undertaken over the last 15 years in collaboration with AMBER and [its predecessor] CRANN,” said Dr Mayberry.

“We have cultivated an excellent research relationship, learnt from each other, and appreciate the many fundamental insights that the teams discovered that help us make informed decisions regarding the future of semiconductor technology.”

Prof Boland said: “I am very honoured to have received this award from Intel. It has been rewarding to see the impact of our research over the last 14 years translated into new technologies. This would not have been possible without our model of collaborative research engagement with Intel, from researchers-in-residence working in our labs to joint research challenges. I look forward to continuing this engagement with Intel in years to come”.

Prof Boland is a fellow of Trinity College and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the Laureate of the 11th ACSIN Nanoscience Prize in 2011 and was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant in 2013.

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